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Hand Injury Lawsuits: Defective Products – Settlements

Hand Injury Lawsuits: Defective Products – Settlements

A healthcare professional bandaging a hand

In this article, we’ll break down the following:

The human hand is a complex, delicate structure comprising an intricate network of bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. This fine-tuned piece of the human anatomy allows us to do everything from typing, eating, and using a smartphone to constructing buildings, changing a flat tire, and playing a musical instrument.

Injuries to the hand can be devastating, especially if they cause permanent disability. An injury to the dominant hand also has the potential to diminish your quality of life and even impact your ability to earn a livelihood.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a hand injury due to a defective product, you can recover compensation from the responsible party. Here’s everything you need to know about defective product settlements in hand injury lawsuits.

Defective Products and Hand Injuries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hand injuries are the second most common type of non-fatal workplace injuries resulting in time off. Hand injuries take many forms, most of which result from blunt trauma, compression or over-extension, and overuse.

Any injury to the bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, skin, and soft tissue of the hand, fingers, or wrist qualifies as a hand injury.

Some common hand injuries caused by defective tools and equipment include:

  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Crushing injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures and bone breaks
  • Lacerations
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendon and ligament injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis

Certain types of defective hand injuries attract higher compensation payouts. These injuries typically settle before trial or during litigation and hardly ever go all the way to a verdict. Here’s an overview of the main ones:

  • Scapholunate ligament injuries: The scapholunate ligament is located at the center of the wrist between the scaphoid and the lunate bones. Permanent injuries to this ligament often result in permanently reduced grip strength.
  • Scaphoid bone fractures: The scaphoid is a small bone in the wrist. If this bone fractures, the blood supply to the bone may be cut off, leading to cell death. The scaphoid bone is extremely difficult to heal.
  • Radial Artery Pseudoaneurysm: This rare hand injury complication occurs when the blood vessel that runs through the wrist (radial artery) is damaged.
  • Internal fixation: If a metal piece of hardware has to be implanted into the hand or wrist to improve the long-term prospects of an injured hand, the settlement will usually be higher.
  • Bone graft: If a hand fracture doesn’t heal properly, it can result in long-term complications such as a nonunion, which can be disabling. A bone graft may be the only way to improve the victim’s condition.
  • Nerve injury: Blunt trauma or crushing injuries can damage the nerves that transmit signals between the hand and the brain. Nerve injury to the hand often results in impairment.
  • Stitches: While stitches attract the lowest settlement amounts for hand injuries, they can still increase the potential value of a defective product hand injury lawsuit.

An experienced product liability attorney will be able to assess the extent of your hand injuries and help you determine an ideal settlement amount.

Importance of Settlements in Defective Product Lawsuits

We rely on our hands professionally and personally in our daily lives. Practically all jobs require us to use our hands to write, type, operate machinery, or handle tools and equipment. Each of these activities involves the use of hands in some capacity.

Suffering a hand injury, therefore, can have a devastating impact on an individual’s ability to work and perform simple everyday tasks, ultimately degrading their quality of life. Settlements in defective product lawsuits are meant to cushion the blow of hand injuries on the victim’s physical, financial, and emotional welfare.

To determine what a fair settlement amount in a hand injury lawsuit would be, a product liability attorney takes into account several factors, including:

  • Current medical bills
  • Future expenses for surgery, physical therapy, or rehabilitation
  • The extent of injury to the dominant hand
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of future income
  • Torn ligaments, fractures, damaged nerves, or puncture wounds that could disrupt hand or wrist movement
  • The at-fault party’s insurance coverage limits
  • Additional compensation if the hand injury causes permanent disablement
  • Pain and suffering

The CPSC’s Revised Injury Cost Model estimates the pain and suffering awards in hand-injury-related incidents involving defective products. The pain and suffering damages for severe injuries such as the loss of a finger ($57,000) and hand or arm fractures ($14,150) tend to be higher compared to less severe injuries such as minor contusions or abrasions ($100-$3,900). The mean settlement jury award for injury claims involving hand tools is $1,026,166.

Benefits of Defective Product Settlements in Hand Injury Claims

Going the settlement route in a defective product lawsuit as opposed to a trial has several benefits, such as:

  • Lower overall legal costs: Going through a trial process is infinitely more expensive than settling out of court. You have to pay expert witnesses to testify, foot their travel and lodging expenses, pay jury and court-related trial expenses, and attorney fees for the duration of the lawsuit. If you lose the case, you’ll also have to pay the defendant’s litigation costs.
  • Less stress: Trials are stressful. From being grilled by lawyers to sitting through long days of court proceedings to tense moments of motion filings and objections—it can take a toll on your physical and psychological well-being.
  • Less time: Trials require a lot of preparation. The pre-trial discovery and deposition process is long and grueling. There’s also the fact that you may have to wait several months before the court can hear your case.
  • Guaranteed payout: Jury decisions are unpredictable, which also makes trial outcomes unpredictable. You might believe you have a solid injury claim for a slam dunk victory, only to walk out with a less-than-ideal verdict.
  • Privacy: Florida courts are public. Anyone can go in and sit in on your court proceedings. The court records are public as well. People can review your answers to personal questions, including those you would have preferred to remain private. Your medical history and other personal information are also made a matter of public record.
  • Guaranteed finality: If either party is unhappy with the trial verdict, the aggrieved party can appeal. Appeals can last several months. If the appellate court reverses the earlier court’s judgment, the case could be remanded to the lower court for a new trial.

Examples of Defective Products That Caused Hand Injuries

Defective Household Appliances and Consumer Goods

  • An individual was opening a child’s stroller when the hinge near the seat clamped shut on the area between their thumb and index finger. Their hand was locked there for several minutes until they could finally free themselves. The individual suffered a large laceration for which they sought medical treatment. However, they reported lingering nerve sensitivity in the area four weeks after the fact.
  • A user was cleaning out the base of their handheld stick blender when it accidentally turned on with their finger in the blade. The user sustained severe lacerations, nerve damage, and an open fracture. They were later diagnosed with vascular congestion in the injured finger. According to the manufacturer, the product manual states that the device should be unplugged when not in use.
  • A man sustained deep lacerations in his right hand and forefinger while trying to assemble the various attachments of a smoothie blender. The user alleged that the instruction manual said to plug the blender in and mount the blade onto the base. When he did this, the blade activated, causing severe injuries to his hand. The lack of a safety feature points to a design defect.

Overview of Florida Product Liability Law

According to Florida 2021 Statutes 768.81(1)(d), a product liability action is a civil suit lodged on the legal principle of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty due to a defect in the manufacture, design, construction, formulation, assembly, installation, or preparation of a product.

There are three categories of product liability action you can pursue against the at-fault party for injuries resulting from defective products:

  • Design defect: An error in a product’s blueprint that makes it inherently dangerous for its intended purpose.
  • Manufacturing defect: An error in a product’s production phase that goes unnoticed, making it unreasonably dangerous.
  • Marketing defect: The failure to warn or provide adequate instructions on how to use the product safely.

To prove cause in a strict liability case, you must show that:

  1. There is/was an existing relationship between the manufacturer, designer, or distributor and the allegedly defective product;
  2. The product was defective;
  3. The defect made the product inherently dangerous for its intended use; and
  4. The defective product was the imminent cause of your injuries.

If the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or any other third party owed a duty of care to you but breached that duty, causing you to sustain injuries, you can file a negligence lawsuit against them to recover damages for your injuries.

Case Studies of Hand Injury Lawsuit Settlements

Canada Dry Bottling Company v. Shaw, 118 So. 2d 840 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1960)

Issue: The plaintiff Ms. Shaw filed a lawsuit against the defendant after sustaining a hand injury while trying to open a bottle of Canada Dry Club Soda. The bottle broke in the process, injuring her hand. Shaw’s expert witness testified that the bottle was defective at the time of filling and capping. Shaw sued the defendant for breach of implied warranty and received a jury verdict in her favor. The defendant appealed the verdict.

Result: The District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed the trial court’s decision, stating that the defendant’s injuries resulted from a defect in the bottle. For that reason, the plaintiff was entitled to compensation for the breach of the implied warranty of the bottle’s fitness for use. Ms. Shaw was awarded damages for her injuries.

Timones v. Excel Indus. of Florida, 631 So. 2d 331 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1994)

Issue: Plaintiff Timones filed a lawsuit against his employer, Excel Industries of Florida, for injuries he sustained when a chair he was seated on fell backward, causing him to accidentally place his hand into a buffing machine. His colleague had to hit the emergency switch to allow Timones to free his hand.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant knowingly allowed its employees to use old, outdated machinery that lacked adequate safety features, exposing workers to avoidable hazards.

While Timones received workers’ compensation for his injuries, intentional tort falls outside the scope of the Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusivity provision.

The court found in favor of the defendant, citing that the evidence presented did not demonstrate a deliberate attempt to injure the plaintiff, nor did it engage in conduct that would result in injury or death. Timones appealed this decision.

Result: The District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed the summary judgment delivered by the trial court on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate an intentional tort on the defendant’s part.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky: Background

Alan Sackrin and Larry Tolchinsky are Board Certified attorneys with over 60 years of cumulative courtroom experience. They have successfully represented clients in civil litigation, appeals, mediation, and arbitration matters in several practice areas, including:

  • Catastrophic car accidents
  • Wrongful Death
  • Slip and Falls
  • Insurance claims/denials
  • All other serious personal injury claims

Sackrin & Tolchinsky attorneys are committed to giving you the best possible representation for a fast and fair conclusion to your legal issues. Our firm adopts the latest technology to minimize service delivery costs and offer personalized professional support to all our clients.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky’s Experience as Injury Claims Lawyers

Alan Sackrin is an accomplished civil trial attorney with over 40 years of experience in product liability, personal injury, slip-and-fall, and motor vehicle collision claims. He has litigated numerous complex cases and recovered significant settlements for injury victims.

In one of Alan’s notable settlements, he secured a $375,000 recovery for an automobile collision victim with a pre-existing back ailment. Alan and his team of gladiator attorneys worked tirelessly in this disputed liability case to prove that the victim’s claimed injury aggravated their back condition.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one has sustained hand injuries from what you believe to be a defective product, consult a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. That way, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected and recover compensation for your injuries.

Sackrin & Tolchinsky attorneys have extensive experience representing hand injury victims of defectively manufactured products. They have the knowledge and legal expertise to help you prove your case and recover the settlement you deserve.

Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation to discuss the avenues of legal recourse available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of hand injuries can occur from defective products?

Some common hand injuries caused by defective products include:

  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Crushing injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures and bone breaks
  • Lacerations
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendon and ligament injuries

How can I prove that a product was defective and caused my hand injury?

In Florida, victims of defective products can lodge a product liability claim against the at-fault party on the legal principle of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. To prove cause in a strict liability case, you must show that:

  1. There is/was an existing relationship between the manufacturer, designer, or distributor and the allegedly defective product;
  2. The product was defective;
  3. The defect made the product inherently dangerous for its intended use; and
  4. The defective product was the imminent cause of your injuries.

To prove cause in a negligence claim against the at-fault party, you must demonstrate that a duty of care was owed to you and that the defendant’s actions breached that duty, thereby causing your hand injury.

How much compensation can I receive for a hand injury lawsuit settlement?

There’s no set compensation amount that a hand injury victim is entitled to. Each case is unique. The amount you can recover will depend on several factors, such as:

  • The severity of the hand injury
  • The level of strict liability or negligence of the at-fault party
  • Availability (or lack thereof) of insurance coverage
  • The extent of medical care required
  • Medical expenses incurred so far and other out-of-pocket incidentals
  • The impact of the hand injury on the victim’s quality of life
  • The victim’s ability to earn a livelihood in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • The cost of retaining full-time in-home support if they are unable to perform household tasks due to permanent hand disablement

How long do I have to file a claim for a hand injury caused by a defective product in Florida?

The statute of limitation for product liability cases based on strict liability is 4 years. For product liability cases based on negligence, please call us to discuss your case, as a recent statutory change in the law has caused uncertainty to the limitations period.

What can I do to maximize my hand injury settlement?

Remember, nothing is final until you put pen to paper. Keep preparing for trial even as you conduct settlement negotiations. If the other side doesn’t believe you intend to go to trial, they won’t hesitate to lowball you. Sometimes, your best bet at getting a fair settlement is to go to trial. Consult an experienced product liability attorney to determine the best cause of action.

Can I sue my employer for my hand injuries after accepting workers’ compensation?

In most cases, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer after collecting workers’ compensation. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Every case is unique and may have extenuating circumstances that may make it necessary for an injured worker to sue their employer or another party, even after accepting workers’ comp. Only a legal professional could assess your case and advise accordingly.

How much is my hand injury pain and suffering worth?

According to the CPSC’s Revised Injury Cost Model, the mean estimate for pain and suffering in hand injury claims varies based on severity. Victims of serious injuries, such as losing a finger, can recover an average of $57,000 for pain and suffering. The average payout for hand and arm fractures is $14,150. Pain and suffering damages for minor contusions or abrasions range between $100 and $3,900.

Do You Have A Question? Call Alan Sackrin Today For a Free Case Evaluation

As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Expert for over 40+ years, Alan Sackrin has extensive experience with product liability lawsuits. He offers a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions. When you’re ready to speak with an expert civil trial lawyer about your product liability case, call Alan at 945-458-8655.